July 16th, 2001
Humans have five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. A few weeks ago I was thinking about our senses and a question developed: Can a human imagine a new sense?
To answer this I'll have to determine the definition of a sense. I looked in the dictionary and it wasn't much help. So I'll try it on my own.
Senses are mediums that inerpret information about the things around us (or the lack of things). Our senses send data to our brain which in turn, creates the world around us.
My first thought is that it is possible for humans to have more than five senses. Some of us might have psychic powers. However, psychic powers seem to be only internal manifestations of external senses. Let's see if I can prove it....
Imagine that you can hear other people's thoughts. Would this be a 6th sense? Well, quite frankly, I wouldn't classify it as a 6th sense because you're hearing the thoughts. When I think I actually hear my own voice "speaking" my thoughts. This suggests that essentially, I'm using a sense of hearing. Thus, if you can hear other people's thoughts in your mind you're still only hearing them. Therefore, hearing others' thoughts would not be a new sense.
If someone had no senses and they had never experienced any senses then they would have no thoughts. They wouldn't be able to think. So, a psychic mind power could not be classified as new sense. The mind is an internal mechanism that processess the information gathered by our senses which are external mechanisms.
Sounds right to me. This question came about because I was trying to figure out a good idea for a story. A new angle, so to speak. Didn't work.
Another question arises from my thought process: how do people who have always been deaf experience thoughts? Do they see images of sign language?
What about a person who has always been deaf and blind? How do they experience thoughts?